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Review: Barns Courtney – 17/10/19 – Riverside, Newcastle

08/11/2019

With a bare chest protruding from beneath his red leather jacket, Barns Courtney certainly looked the part. He glided onto the stage in front of a typically hyped-up Newcastle crowd. However, over the next 90 minutes he was to prove that he could more than back-up his rock and roll image by delivering a thunderously energetic show, much to the delight of the packed-out Riverside crowd… 

Barns opened with feel-good rock numbers ‘Fun Never Ends’ and ‘London Girls’, each from Courtney’s latest release ‘404’. He effortlessly commanded attention with his dynamic and exciting stage presence. Indeed, the crowd responded almost instantaneously. This created a powerful exchange of energy between artist and crowd that would continue to fuel the show until the final number. 

Momentum would only continue to build as Courtney, accompanied by his three-piece backing band, turned his attention to the radio-friendly hooks and catchy guitar licks of his first album. They would then storm into the hard-hitting ‘Hands’. 

The pace finally slowed upon the introduction of an acoustic guitar for ‘Little Boy’. However this didn’t mean Courtney would lose his tight grip on the captivated crowd, who stayed in the palm of his hand as the song steadily built. The crowd were soon rewarded with an impassioned performance of ‘Glitter & Gold’, Courtney’s biggest commercial hit to date. 

The rising singer-songwriter rarely spoke to the audience throughout the first half of the show, but then again, he didn’t need to. His performance spoke for itself. The first real form of crowd communication came in the form of Courtney, declaring his somewhat bewildered love for the exuberance of the Thursday night crowd.

A crowd that somehow managed to start a mosh pit to ‘Hollow’, despite it being one of the night’s more pop-driven tunes. Rather unsurprisingly, Courtney informed us that this wasn’t a regular occurrence – and the band’s subsequent delight for the capacity crowd was clearly evident. 

Following the immensely catchy, pop-infused tracks ‘You and I’ and ’99’, the show ended with back-to-back rockers ‘Kicks’ and ‘Fire’ – which saw Courtney crowd surf. This was right before ditching both his leather jacket and the stage to end the show jumping around amongst the tirelessly electrified attendees. 

It was clear from the get-go that Courtney intended to leave everything he had on the stage and  this didn’t go unnoticed by his supremely eager fans, who matched his enthusiasm every step of the way. The result was an unforgettably energised show that sent both the punters and artist home with huge smiles on their faces. 

PHOTOS: ELLISHA IDDON

WORDS: DANNY ASPINALL

For more photos of Barns Courtney doing his thing on stage, get over to our Gig Gallery now!

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